With the PyeongChang Winter Olympics nearing its grand finale on Sunday, the top organizer said the country's first Winter Games were financially successful, breaking the conception that major international competitions normally end with high levels of debt.
"As the cashflow of the 2018 Winter Games is healthy, there's no reason to post a deficit," Lee Hee-beom, the head of PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games (POCOG), told Yonhap News Agency.
"While 14 trillion won ($13 billion) was invested for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, 12 trillion won was spent on building infrastructure, such as the bullet train and stadiums," Lee said.
"This should be considered a development fund for balanced growth among provinces, rather than the Olympics fund."
Lee highlighted that the launch of the bullet train to from Seoul Gangwon Province led to a sharp increase in the number of visitors, leading to financial gains.
The committee head claimed that taking such factors into consideration, the actual fund for the Olympics is estimated at 2.8 trillion won. Organizers said they also raised 1.1 trillion won from corporate sponsorship, which hovered above the original goal of 940 billion won.
"We have 30 billion won of reserve funds, which we still haven't used even half of," Lee said. "On top of that, sales from souvenirs also remained strong. In the first 10 days of the Olympics, the sales from the Super Stores were 30 billion won."
"There's no reason for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics to close in debt," Lee reiterated.
Since being named as the host town in 2011, PyeongChang will now complete its journey for the 2018 Winter Games, where a record-high 2,920 athletes from 92 countries participated.
"This was the Olympics that was praised both by the International Olympic Committee as well as athletes and global media," Lee said.
Leading the organizing committee for two years, Lee said he wanted to give up many times, but decided to endure to keep the promise he made to the IOC head Thomas Bach, who asked Lee to keep his position until the end, and prepare for the Olympics with enthusiasm. (Yonhap)